Spoiler alert: In this article, I’m going to focus on a topic that many people consider boring. Because of that you may want to close it out and watch more rescue dog videos (oh, maybe that’s just me).

I encourage you to keep reading and not look away because what I’m discussing today is one of the key ways to increase the probability of success in your sales conversations.

Let’s start with an old adage:

“Measure twice, cut once.”

That’s what goes through my head as I’m doing my geeky DIY home projects.

It’s a message about preparation and making the time to ensure that what you’re about to do will be correct. It’s about not wasting valuable resources by doing “it” wrong and being unable to “undo” it. Oh, if everything was as easy as the undo button!

Want to Close Your Sales Conversations?

To increase the probability of a conversion in your sales conversations you need to “prepare twice.”

Yes, preparation is the boring topic.

We need to prepare twice. Twice? Grrr. Well, we need to prepare at two different levels to make sure that when we get in front of that prospect — who probably took a lot of effort to be in that conversation in the first place — we don’t waste time or resources, for us or for them.

This article covers the first level of preparation, and the second part or the second layer will be covered in the next article.

Ready for the first level of preparation?

In preparing twice, we first prepare in advance on paper or screen.

Most of you understand you should prepare. Heck, you may already do a few things or look online before a sales conversation.

But there are a couple of big ways that many people miss in their preparation. Steps that should absolutely be taken so you can best guide the conversation or information exchange with your prospect.

The Missing Ingredient in Successful Preparation

What too many sellers often fail to include in their preparation is outlining the actual conversation. Outlining the conversation ensures you’re ready and able to guide your prospect through the conversation to get the information they need, in the way they need it, when they need it, so that they can make a confident decision.

Note that I’m pointing to outlining the conversation, not scripting it. Scripting is too rigid and doesn’t account for the variable of the other person.

Instead, an outline allows you flexibility. Prepare by outlining your conversation from start to end.

Outline How You’re Going to Connect with Your Prospect

Outline what you will do to connect with that person and earn the right to go forward in an open information exchange.

This is where it’s okay to Google them. Online research is not being stalk-y…as long as you use the information appropriately. For example, don’t say something like, “Oh, your spouse was looking pretty good in that picture on your Instagram.”

Instead, use the information you find to determine what’s important to them and how to start the conversation. That’s not creepy. It’s not “stalk-y.” It’s good business.

Outline the Key Questions You’ll Ask the Prospect

Next, outline the key questions that you’ll ask them to uncover the information you need to know, and that they need to clarify for themselves.

Please note: It’s not about the quantity of questions; it’s about asking the right questions.

Want more information about asking the right questions? Checkout this short video:

Uncover Compelling Prospect Motivators to Get the Yes

Outline Your Solution and the Concerns You Might Hear

Outline the probable recommendations or solutions that you may need to discuss. Prepare to connect those solutions specifically to their situation.

Also outline what possible concerns or objections the prospect might have. And importantly, if you think those concerns or objections might come up, outline what you can do to “get in front” of those issues so that they don’t become a concern or objection during the conversation.

Outline the End of Your Conversation

One area that often is neglected in preparation is the end of the conversation. Outline the specific action or decision they should be ready to make, as well as your set up that allows you to ask for that decision.

Finally, use your outline to make sure you’re clear on what the specific next steps are.

Never leave the conversation with assumptions, uncertainty, or confusion — on your part or theirs.

There you have. Level one of preparation: outlining the full conversation.

Make the time to prepare onscreen or on paper hours or days in advance.

Got it?Now, preparation level two is the game changer. And it’s what I’m going to cover in the next installment.

Watch for it soon.

Financial Advisor sales training doesn’t have to focus on pushy tactics or high-pressure pitches. Genuine Sales teaches the fundamentals for sales success that allow you to be genuine, ethical, and successful!